Detroit Demolition Program faces criminal investigation over inspection reports

7 Aug 2017 by under News

Seal of Detroit.svg 1 100x100 Detroit Demolition Program faces criminal investigation over inspection reportsThe Detroit Demolition Program, aimed at removing blighted properties in the city, is facing even more criticism after an investigation by the Detroit Free Press. The program reportedly mishandled at dozens of sites and falsified inspection reports, according to documents obtained by the paper via the Freedom of Information Act.

City officials denied allegations by a Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) employee who said the city put “production over compliance” but admitted that mistakes had been made. The city is cooperating with a criminal investigation into falsified inspection reports.

The documents obtained by the news source show DEQ officials worried about the health impacts of the demolition program, state officials “squabbled over how to handle the situation,” and inspectors claimed to have checked 15-23 houses for asbestos a day although eight is usually the max possible. The state investigation began when the city submitted inspector’s certificates clearing two properties for demolition and then resubmitted them saying they had failed inspections for asbestos, raising questions over which certificates were actually true.

“(Building Authority officials) realized also that their demands for high production was affecting the quality of abatement and in our view, the premature demolition of properties prior to abatement,” the DEQ’s Karen Kajiya-Mills told the news source.

The city of Detroit has razed more than 11,000 blighted properties since 2014 through its demolition program — with approximately 2,000 more demolitions scheduled. The DEQ can hold the city of Detroit, the Detroit Land Bank Authority and the Detroit Building Authority responsible for violations of asbestos regulations.


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